Updated: August 9, 2021 | 3:14 pm PT
The Dixie Fire has become the 2nd largest wildfire recorded in California history
- The Dixie fire continues to grow. Approaching 500,000 acres in size, the Dixie Fire has now become the 2nd largest wildfire in recorded California History.
- Five of the 7 largest fires in California history have occurred in the 2020 or 2021 fire seasons.
Even more homes are at risk, but a change in wind speed could reduce that risk
- It is estimated that more than 500 homes have been destroyed from this event, with up to 1000 more homes at risk in unburnt areas within the fire perimeter.
- The ongoing SW winds are pushing the fire towards communities to the North and East of the fire perimeter. A lessening of the wind speed or change in direction could greatly reduce the risk.
New home construction is often disproportionality in riskier areas
- Although the fire ignition was near the location of the Camp Fire (2018), the Dixie fire is burning areas that have not seen large wildfires for many years.
- Housing growth since 2000 in this area has outpaced the overall growth in home construction in California – reminding us that new home construction is often disproportionately in riskier areas.
- The impacts of long-term forestry management (extinguishing fires and allowing fire fuels to accumulate near communities), home location preferences and climate / weather are reinforcing the view that our historic loss experience data is insufficient to evaluate prospective risk. Analysis with high resolution fuels and maintaining current fuels data can help in this evaluation amid the escalation of influential weather related factors and patterns borne from a changing climate.
August 6, 2021 | 7:31 am PT
The Dixie Fire destroyed the town of Greenville, California not far from the 2018 Camp Fire
- The Dixie Fire (footprint on the map below) has been burning since mid-July, mostly in wildland areas northeast of the town of Paradise, in an area that was near but not part of the Camp Fire that devasted the area in 2018. The Dixie Fire has consumed approximately 435,000 acres and is only 35% contained. However, because the spread was heading northeastward, the fire trended away from populated areas and burned over 90 structures.
- That changed on Wednesday when afternoon winds increased, and firefighters could not maintain the lines that protected the town of Greenville (pop 1,100). By midnight, nearly every structure in the town was destroyed by the fire.
Damage assessment is underway
- Greenville lies within an extreme wildfire risk area with lower risk agriculture areas on one eastern side. Fire advanced from the southwest, consuming heavy fuels built up from over a century of fire suppression.
- Crews have just started performing damage assessments, but it appears as if the entire downtown area was burned with destruction extending into the surrounding residential communities. It is unknown at this time whether any structures within the footprint of the fire remain standing.
Residents have little to return to, extending the community’s recovery time
- A visual check shows that nearly 100% of the town was impacted that includes dozens of homes and businesses. As the commercial center of town was completely destroyed, this means that members of the community will have little in the way of local economy to salvage, and many residents will be unable or unwilling to remain in the community.
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